THE health secretary has ordered a review of a controversial decision to close a specialist children’s’ heart unit.
Families around the district have joined a campaign to save the unit at Leeds General Infirmary, fearing poorly kids would be at greater risk if forced to travel farther for heart surgery.
The unit, along with specialist centres in London and Leicester, was set to close under plans to carry out complex surgery in fewer units.
But Jeremy Hunt has ordered an independent review of the plan after an outcry by families, MPs and campaign groups.
Ackworth mum Anne-Marie Sheard, 41, whose five-year-old son Isaac has a heart defect and will need surgery at the Leeds unit, said: “This is a step in the right direction and we are all really happy that the health secretary has now ordered a review.
“Obviously we hope the outcome will be that the Leeds unit remains open.”
Questions have been raised over a scoring system which was used to decide which heart units would close.
Mrs Sheard, of Moor Top Avenue, said travelling farther for surgery would put families under strain. She added: “It’s not something you want to contemplate as a parent.”
Earlier this month, campaign group Save Our Surgery (SOS) applied for a judicial review of the decision to close the Leeds unit.
If the judicial review goes ahead, the separate review order by Mr Hunt, set to be carried out by the Indepandant Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), could be put on hold.
Save Our Surgery’s Sharon Cheng said: “While we are delighted that the government has finally listened to the concerns of patients, MPs and local councillors and stepped in to halt the planned closures, our fear is that the IRP will simply repeat the same flawed process as originally used.”